Browse Tag by Vanj Padilla
Food, tourism, Travel

Cagayan Food Crawl revisits 8th Avenue Coffee & Tea Lab

The Norte Bloggers missed the always- smiling owner of 8th Avenue Coffee, Mam Anj who is in New York, USA with her fiancé,  Rann. The two of them are about to get married next year and we are equally excited about it, just like a family 🙂   

So we were met by Dom Angco Baccay,  for the second Cagayan Food Crawl. 8th Avenue Coffee, a cute little coffee shop in Magallanes cor.Legaspi St. joined us on our first food appreciation tour.

Our main strength is the ambiance and the quality of our coffee or coffee-based drinks. We sell more beverages over ice“, says Dom.

They served Christmas drinks non-coffee based frappucino. Because their themed christmas concoctions are fruity and fruit-based, bloggers need to try and taste them all. 🙂

Christmas taste frap– fruity, raspberry flavored frap that is light to the  palate but with just the right amount of sour and sweet raspberry flavor. Berries abound on ber- months and this is the right time to taste them

white pine
White Pine

Apple mint frap– slight taste of green apple with a twist of peppermint, topped with white chocolate chips and cotton candy  

 

Christmas cookie frap– tastes like your favorite cookie dough- topped with cookie and drizzle of caramel  

White passion frap– passion fruit mixed with white chocolate topped with cotton candy sprinkles  (*Norte Bloggers favorite)

Christmas-themed fraps from 8th Avenue
Christmas-themed fraps from 8th Avenue

Honeydew latte–  fruity, honeydew flavored coffee

Chocomint– Santa Claus loves chocomint, this is a powdered choice-based drink which sounds and tastes like comfort food.  its really comfort food

Chocomint coffee

Ice Salted Caramel macchiato– salted caramel macchiato, I personally  love caramel macchiato and adding rock salt into it is a big bonus 🙂

8th Avenue has a promotion from December 1 up to December 31,  you can either get a planner, tumbler or surprise gift. All you have to do is complete the sticker to avail the freebie.

8th Avenue Tea Lab 

The concept of the tea lab is similar to a chemistry lab, since the the owner is a medical technologist. Her mother  took charge of  the interior design of the Tea Lab, hence the unique and interesting design.

Choco berry milk tea a combination of milk and strawberry tea to fit the season. It is also served with black pearl or tapioca

Passion fruit tea– the all time best seller, ‘is sobrang sarap’. Passion fruit is kween, no wonder it is the undisputed favorite.

They call their beverage sizes atomic (small)  and molecular (large)

 

If you are a regular at 8th Avenue, I’m sure you have your own happy place. The Norte Bloggers also have our happy place here.  Check this space out 🙂

with the 8th Avenue and Tea lab crew
with the 8th Avenue and Tea lab crew

Chill at 8th Avenue coffee at Josefina’s Place corner  Magallanes and Legaspi St. Tuguegarao City. Check out their Facebook Page for more details. Also with Tea Lab.

Have fun, everyone! 🙂 Don’t forget to share.

tourism, Travel, vanj padilla

Charmed by natural wonders of Pamplona Cagayan

Pamplona Cagayan on a weekend

Pamplona” to me, used to be just a city in Spain or a town in Rizal. Which also happens to be a town in the beautiful province of Cagayan. The northern most provinces were highly Hispanized. Isabela, the nearby province was named after a Spanish queen. In Cagayan, Lal-lo town used to be the seat of the Nueva Segovia before it was transferred to Vigan.

Where there is a river system, there is a town heavy of Spanish influence, Catholicism. The rivers, being the main thoroughfare during old days, conquistadores used them to reach Filipino natives.

The treehouse in Pamplona is strategically situated at the century-old Acacia tree

Fast forward to the 21st century, Pamplona in Cagayan is a charming destination. A weekend with the very young lady Mayor Arnie Angelica Sampaga revealed that indeed this town has a lot of potential and is a sleeping giant ready to be awakened.

Bio-ethanol is produced in this 4th class town. It produces approximately 850 liters of bio-ethanol daily and supplies a hospital in Ilocos Norte. Bio-ethanol, similar to ethyl alcohol – is a bi-product of the nipa palm tree abundant in the rivers of Pamplona. Other products were Binarayang or nipa wine that has a high alcohol content.

We initially had the river cruise, traversed the vast river in a floating hut with karaoke or videoke while sharing stories and eating fresh grilled clams or ‘caggu‘ as they call it here. It was a refreshing cruise. We can do so much in this activity. And Masi river is apparently where Miguel De Salcedo landed in Cagayan.

Pamplona River Cruise
with the Arapang Media team and Team Pamplona
Emoting at the river

Up next, tired bodies rested at Nena’s Beach Resort in Nagattatan owned by Dr. Nena Ifurung, a staunch supporter of Pamplona’s development. It was a restful sleep, it was like sleeping in my house in Lingayen in front of the beach. The food they served was sumptuous, too bad I wasn’t able to take a photo due to excitement 🙁

In the morning, we were fetched to attend the flag ceremony and witness the awarding of the winners of the official tourism t-shirt design and to rejoin the lady mayor and other municipal officials of the bustling town.

Arapang Media & Consultancy with Mayor Arnie Angelica Sampaga

Right after the brief meeting, we were toured around again, by the Tourism Officer designate- Jernelli Ruiz, along with team Arapang Media & Consultancy other guests and locals. We went to the Malagabavi River where small basins of water from the Malagabavi falls flow freely to the Masi River.

The river bank in itself is a postcard photo in itself

The river cruise in itself is a visual feast, along the way we saw carabaos happily wading in the crystal clear waters. Some fisherfolks cast their nets and eagerly wait for their catch.

The Skyline is a postcard photo in itself
vanj padilla postcard photo
some more postcard photos

We were surprised to learn that some villagers were waiting for us at the dock. Lunch is being prepared there for us. It was wonderful. We experienced local hospitality, a signature trait of Filipinos. We were served a fish specie from the river, I forgot its name.

This tasty fish came from this river

After lunch and before sleep will engulf our full tummies, we went on to continue with the river cruise towards our destination- the PIKKAN FALLS. A thirty-minute or so boat ride ensued and we dropped off to a riverbank where a tiny farm house can be seen.

It was not an easy trek, the path is very tricky and some stones are quite slippery

 

There is a time to rest and pose for a photo

After about twenty minutes of trekking, at last we arrived at the enchanting Pikkan Falls. The boat ride, the trek, the stories and the muscle cramps were all worth it. Adults survived. Kids survived. All were very happy.

The enchanting Pikkan Falls of Pamplona, Cagayan
Look at how clear the water is, you can actually see the multi-colored pebbles underneath
Achievement Unlocked! The blogger reached the falls in one piece

NOTE TO READERS: The Pikkan Falls is not yet ready for tourists. The LGU is currently doing a tourism mapping to check on the assets of the town to be readied for mass tourism. There is no readily available boat going to Pikkan Falls. If you want to visit and go there, kindly coordinate with the Mayor’s Office or thru LGU Pamplona for assistance. The trip was LGU-sponsored and ushered us to all the sites.

Do you have an interesting story about Pamplona, Cagayan? Share it with us by commenting on the blog. Share this story on Facebook if you think others are interested to visit Pamplona.

tourism, Travel

Dasol Dazzles Bloggers

 

 

Dasol’s Colibra Island

It was a quick and unplanned trip to the Land of the Solar Salt — the dazzling town of Dasol. Pangasinan Bloggers are to meet the Pampanga Bloggers in Tambobong Beach Rains Resort on the first weekend of February. We took a bus to Dasol, afraid that our little car might not be able to endure the rocky ascent of the road to Tambobong.

When we got there, we were welcomed by the sumptuous breakfast served to us by Kuya Greg and family who owns the Rains Resort. It was a feast and we were not able to resist. Resorts and home stays in Tambobong can cook meal for guests, using fresh harvest from the sea. Guests can just request the keepers, and they will be glad to do it for you for a minimal fee.

Breakfast at Rains Resort

After breakfast, we had our gears on to island- hopping. Boat ride costs P1,500 and each boat can accommodate 6 people.  There are three islands to visit.One is the Slipper Island, Colibra Island and the Crocodile Island. The first island is where the Sinmimbaan Cave is, it is like a cathedral cave. If the waves are not that strong, one can get off the boat and explore or take photos. I enjoyed the Colibra Island though. Docking to Colibra Island or the island where the sea snakes are will require you to shell out P100. Add another P25 per head as entrance fee and if you need to settle down and use their benches, pay another P100 bucks. I told their municipal tourism officer that they should standardise the pricing and fees as well as collect once so as not to surprise tourists with the fees and charges.

You can stay overnight or the whole day at the Colibra Island. It is one of the most interesting islands that I’ve been to.

Colibra island

According to a young tour guide by the name of Jeremy, one of the most unique spots in the island is the swimming pool where mermaids stay during full moon. I checked it myself and it was indeed interesting.

No wonder this island is the most visited island in Dasol. Aside from the sea snakes that thrive in the island, it has remarkable spots from old coral reefs and limestones hundreds of years back.  We were lucky to find a fisherman selling his catch, a fish I am not familiar with. It looks like a swordfish but its not.

fresh catch from the sea

Amid the bushes in the island, I found my happy corner in this side. Sitting down in the branch of a tree, a horny bush in the background and stones all over the place– this is where this blogger found solace. I felt I belong to the island.

my happy corner

 

the view from the bushes

We were not able to land at the Crocodile Island because the waves are furious. Believe it or not, while we are at the boat I was able to sing Josh Groban’s You Raise me Up three times because I was so scared of the bumpy boat ride. But that’s what made the trip more exciting.

Upon returning to the main island Tambobong, it was lunch time. Then a short nap to recharge the body then off again to the unexplored cave nearby. Did you know that Dasol has about 300 unexplored caves? I will make another blogpost when we visit some of them. And Dasol is one of the best dive sites in Pangasinan with its fish sanctuaries?

This sunken ship is now fully submerged and only professional divers can go down to see it

I was once told that a major submarine by the United States docked in Dasol was bombed by the Japanese during the World War II and so it remains submerged deep into the waters of Dasol.

The nameless underwater cave

So this short, quick and sweet trip to Tambobong white Beach Dasol made possible by Rains Resort in collaboration with Pampanga Bloggers and Pangasinan Bloggers was such a hit. Don’t go there without a definite place to stay. Contact Rains Resort Beach Front, Madam Salazar compound Osmeña,Tambobong Beach with mobile number 0927.764.6545 and look for Kuya Greg for all the arrangements.

How to go to Dasol? 

From Manila, allot at least 5 hours travel. Hop on a Victory Liner bus to Alaminos City or Bolinao and get off a Alaminos City. Ride another bus going to Sta. Cruz and board off at Bobonot, a few meters before the town proper of Dasol. Ride a trike for P250 to Tambobong. If you are lucky, you can haggle for a lower price.

If you have a car, take the Luisita exit along SCTEX. Take the Camiling route leading to Alaminos City. From Alaminos, drive towards the route going to Zambales. You will pass by the towns of Mabini and Burgos before reaching Dasol.

Pangasinan and Pampanga Bloggers at the beachfront

More of Dasol escapades when we return for a bigger project and a longer stay. Stay tuned for more discoveries and photos and/ or videos of the Dazzling Town of Dasol. Will do a separate post for their solar salt industry and the mysteries of their unexplored caves.

Business, vanj padilla

What my mentor in Isabela told me minutes before I left 

I always want to talk to this person. Because I heard a lot of stories about him.

He is a self-made man, successful business owner, has an unquestionable love for his family and a rock solid faith in God.

IGC Motors big boss Isaias  G. Corpuz with his eldest son

Mentor IC is the proprietor of IGC Motors in Isabela.The company sells quality cars at affordable price. Mentor IC has clients from up to Visayas and Mindanao even though he is from a small town in Isabela.

He was not born with a silver spoon. He admits that they are so poor that at a very early age when boys like him are busy playing games and going to school, he and his elder brother need to look for food.

It was never easy. Everytime I hear their story, it makes me cry. Their struggle is real. He eats hard labor breakfast, lunch and dinner. He worked at a logging business and whenever they get logs from the mountains, he would buy junk materials in sacks that he carries one by one and sells in town.

He also worked as a helper in their eldest brother’s palay and corn buying store, drove tricycle for years just to earn additional money and support their needs.

Bottomline is at a very early age, he has to go through hard labor and learned the value of money.

Minutes before we left their town, I asked him to teach me about financial management. I told him I lack the necessary knowhow on how to handle money, make money work for me instead of the other way around. I told him I don’t want to mess up with blessings that God shall be giving me because I suck at fiscal management. And here are his tips:

Put God first 

All wealth and blessings come from God.

Being alive is a blessing. Having peace of mind is a blessing. We are taught to set aside a portion of our incomes as offering. This offering is being used by the Church to propagate the words of God and introduce Him to other people. The more people who will rightfully worship Him according to His will, the better it is for man. The better it is for us givers.

We offer it during the first day of every week as per the Bible. After setting aside the amount, you now have the freedom to control what’s left of your income.

Do not spend business capital on dead investments.

Cars, unless a necessity should be carefully thought of before you purchase. Think of how the vehicle can help you achieve your dreams or ease up your life rather than splurge on it for the sake of having a nice car.

Houses are also stagnant investments. He said he never spends on house renovation, improvement, expansion unless the money come from other revenue sources or incentives. He does not touch his revolving capital. Revolving capital should be revolving, not stalled.

Capital outlays should always grow  

Before spending your capital, think about how will it earn. How will it work for you. How it will grow. It you think it won’t grow, do not spend on it. Put it elsewhere.

You should go into a business that makes you happy 

I asked him why he went into buying and selling cars when he was a very popular geodetic engineering practitioner.

He said he loved cars, even when he is young. It made him happy. He used to buy a wooden truck when he was a kid. Paid P8 a day to the seller just so it can be told that he owns a truck.

He got the idea to buy and sell SUVs because his father in-law and brothers in-law are few of the best mechanics in town.

He added that he does not buy SUVs from second or third owners. Just first owners. Saves him a lot of trouble and unforseen costs. It makes flipping better and faster.

Most of his customers are silent millionaire farmers. And Isabela has a lot of those. They plant three or four crops a year because of better irrigation facilities. And his clients do not mind price much. They want a better performing, better looking SUV for their family to reward hard work.

Diversify only when ready 

Mentor IC said it is better to focus on one industry and grow or establish it before thinking of diversification. It takes about two to three years to reap rewards in business so its better to put your eggs in one basket first then focus on growing it before thinking of another.

Be a hands-on business owner 

You can delegate tasks but always be there to supervise. You must know every aspect of your business. Get your hands dirty and get paying clients. The adage ‘build and they will come’ only applies to the lazy ones. Build and give them reasons to come over and over are but two of the keys to success.

Live below your means and do not envy what is not yours 

I heard this gazillion times before. My millionaire aunt lives like a poor one inspite of her wealth. Mentor IC shared that when he was young, he used to iron his money to become creaseless. He values it and although he can spend it on anything he likes, he lives like he has lesser money to spend. He does not splurge. He does not have a vice or his spending habits are under control. He is a cash kind of person. Does not use check or credit cards. Just cash. 

Wanting what does not belong to you is the beginning of greed. He said convert the envy into positive energy like instead of thinking how can you ‘keep up with the Joneses‘, work hard for it instead. Do not want what is not rightfully yours. Instead, challenge yourself and put in the efforts.  

It was only a short and simple conversation but indeed, it was one for the books. How can you afford not to listen to the story of a self-made man? The man whose character is unbreakable even by poverty? The person whose determination and business acumen is impeccable? The man who, when he gives something out, God returns it tenfold or more?

I told him to teach me more. I thought I would learn more from Mentor IC like I do from his elder brother. And it was one of the most memorable talks I had in Isabela, the land named after the Queen of Spain.

                                  The display area of IGC Motors in Ramon, Isabela

IGC Motors, dealer of quality cars at affordable prices is located at National Highway, Burgos Ramon, Isabela Philippines. If you need a trustworthy and reliable car dealer, call them at mobile number 0999.574.4262. 

Business, Tech, Travel

The surprising Calle Uno trip we were talking about

Three members of the ‘Norte Bloggers’ dropped by Calle Uno Co-working and collaborative space on a Saturday night to propose a collaborative event in Baguio to be held on April 2017.

We pitched that Calle Uno hold The Storytellers’s Summit Baguio leg to the owner, Ace Estrada and the idea is welcome to him.

According to their website, Calle Uno is “located in a bustling commercial-residential area in Quezon Hill, along Naguilian Road in Baguio City, our working space of 1800 square meters is spread over three storeys. The building is a grand old mansion lovingly restored to its former 1950s glory. Its best feature is the beautiful brick arches sitting at one end of the spacious grounds. It offers spaces and rooms designed to flexibly serve multiple purposes. Its ambiance ranges from the laid-back atmosphere of a cafe to the seriousness of purpose found at a campus library.”

I found my happy place in Calle Uno. The thing that I was dreaming to have since I was small. It was their walled bookshelf that I wanted to build in time for my precious books.

Vanj Padilla happy place
My happy place. i think I could live here

Calle Uno is more than just your ordinary co-working space. The team behind it through Ace Estrada and his family is revolutionising this industry in Baguio. The Baguio market is just ripe for this kind of business and I was impressed with its long-term goals.

Calle Uno is also a launchpad for food startups and one of their mini kitchens can be rented to launch your food business. What is more interesting is that food start-ups have a ready market such as the members and their patrons to test their minimum viable recipes.

 

Calle Uno also has uniquely designed food trucks from old Volkswagen cars locally called “PENDONG” where concessionaires can sell food, do cooking demos and soon launch an online TV cooking channel under the Calle Uno brand.

It is indeed exciting. And It is refreshing to see people finally getting IT, the technology and disrupting the co-working industry to stay on top of your game.

Calle Uno aims to build a community of tech start-ups, budding food and  tech entrepreneurs, artists, online professionals, virtual workers and what nots.

Visit them and find out how they can help you build your career and your dreams.

 

Disclaimer:

I was instantly awarded a membership by the owner, Ace Estrada who happens to be my province mate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

tourism, Travel

Decoding the myth of Taal through Club Balai Isabel

The Taal Volcano is believed to be the smallest volcano in the world. Its also located in the Philippines.

The best way to go to the volcano island and personally see its crater is through Club Balai Isabel in Talisay Batangas.

IMG_4956

Club Balai Isabel Batangas should be your next destination. It has all the great things needed for a complete summer getaway. Nestled along the coast of Lake Taal, this first-class resort offers a wide range of exciting activities for the family, for the barkada, for the team and for organizations big or small. Continue Reading